Reducing Breast Cancer in Los Angeles County
California Cancer Registry—Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program
Despite the availability of reliable screening methods and statewide programs providing free or low-cost breast cancer screening, invasive breast cancer incidence rates remain highest among all invasive cancer rates in Los Angeles County (LAC). Community-based cancer control coalitions can improve existing programs by using population-based cancer registry data presented in a way that identifies high-risk population subgroups that would benefit most from targeted screening. Steps are required to integrate cancer surveillance data into mainstream cancer control efforts and evaluate the effectiveness of the resulting programs.
Through a partnership between the Cancer Surveillance Program (CSP) and the University of Southern California Norris Patient Education and Community Outreach Center (USC PEOC), cancer registry data were integrated into the efforts of a newly formed coalition that aims to reduce the burden of breast cancer through early detection, better treatment, and enhanced survivorship among residents of Service Planning Area 4 (SPA 4) in LAC. The SPA 4 coalition consists of community and faith organizations, government officials, businesses, foundations, hospitals, universities, and community clinics.
With expert help from CSP and USC PEOC, the coalition has used registry data to estimate the burden of breast cancer in SPA 4, set priorities based on CSP maps showing geographic distribution of late-stage breast cancer, and develop and implement one- and two-year strategic plans. Pooling resources, coalition members have been trained in the use of evidence-based health related data sets such as Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T., the Community Guide, and the California Health Interview Survey.
The coalition is organizing a forum that will feature expert presentations on breast cancer incidence and trends; behavioral risk factors; evidence-based programs; early cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment; clinical trials; and local resources. Attendees will be equipped with information to guide them in developing a strategic plan tailored for the community they serve. The USC PEOC will evaluate the resulting cancer control efforts for success in dissemination and the role they play in developing successful cancer control priorities. For the long-term, we will evaluate evidence of changes in late-stage breast cancer in these areas.
Cancer registry data were used to provide information that will help develop and target resources to benefit local communities. This is perhaps the most underused area of cancer surveillance. The successful use of registry data in this program suggests community organizations' readiness to learn and use evidence-based data in their cancer control efforts, the funders' shifting focus to support evidence-based programs, and the need to continue and increase collaborative and translational activities to maximize the value of cancer surveillance data in cancer control.